Diagnosing Dysfunctional Behaviour - Evaluation 4
Measurement: Operationalisation of ‘dysfunctional behaviour’ - Clinicians often can’t agree on what ‘dysfunctional behaviour’ actually is, therefore it is difficult to accurately diagnose it. Each of Rosenhan and Seligman’s definitions of dysfunctional behaviour has limitations, therefore maybe using all 4 definitions may help to provide a more accurate diagnosis.
Cross-Cultural Bias: Different cultures may view the same behaviours differently. E.g. hearing religious voices in the UK = schizophrenia, hearing the same voices in India = a religious experience which should be celebrated.
Intra-Cultural Bias: Over time, the same culture may change their view of a behaviour. E.g. Homosexuality used to be classed as a mental disorder on the DSM up until 1973. Also, within the same society, at the same time, views may be different. Chavs think Goths are dysfunctional, and vice versa.
Reliability/Validity: Whilst the DSM/ICD aim to be objective diagnostic tools, they are still open to subjective interpretation by the diagnosing clinician. We know from research, such as that by Ford and Widiger, that biases can affect diagnosis. Therefore if a clinician makes an inaccurate diagnosis based on these biases, it leads to an invalid diagnosis. Similarly, if clinicians are presented with the same symptoms, but make different diagnoses, then they lack reliability.